Managed IT Services – What is it and why it is a more efficient way to get IT Support
About 5 years ago, there was a new buzzword in the IT Support field. It is called Managed Services or Managed IT Services. Every day IT Companies are changing to this model because this strengthens the partnership between them and their clients. But what does Managed Services actually mean and how to tell if the IT Support company that you are just using the term as a marketing tool, but in fact they are providing the traditional Break/Fix support that is generally used.
To simply define the term Break/Fix Support is when a business or individual that is experiencing a problem (break) and they call an IT Support company to come out and Fix the problem. This has been the traditional method for IT Support.
The definition for Managed IT Services allows a business to outsource the IT Operations to an IT Support company to serve as the Managed Services Provider (MSP). The MSP assumes the role and takes responsibility to monitor and maintain the technology that your business relies on. This is not just the act of taking responsibility, but having the tools and resources to fulfill those tasks.
IT Support started with the Break-fix Model
IT Support Companies who helped small and medium size businesses had limited tools and utilities just because they did not exist. This required many of the tasks to protect your networks and computers to be completed manually. In those days, networks were much more simple and often they were installed by a self-taught network amateur.
As time went on, the better IT Support companies developed best practices procedures and periodically they would come on site to do system reviews of the logs looking for hints of issues before they become a bigger problem. Checklist were put into place to track system usage and how resources were being growing such as space.
The problem was that the IT Support company could only see what was happening on the particular day that they visited.
Managed Services and how it grew up
Managed Services began with the large companies with huge networks. The cost was very expensive and this is why this was not possible for the small and medium size businesses. Simple Network Managed environments were being deployed in the 90’s and being applied to the PC world. The first systems and applications that were able to monitor computers were very difficult to implement and their complexity was very high.
In 2005, systems were maturing and allowing the small and medium size businesses to start taking advantage of these solutions.
Managed Services finally available for small and medium size businesses
The Managed Services software that is available today allows for Managed Services Providers (MSP’s) to provide services that they were not able to do in the past and that need to be done. Some of the main features are:
• Remote 24×7 monitoring of your computers, servers and networks. When a problem is reported in the Event Viewer, there is a notification that is sent to the Managed Services application to get addressed.
• Remote access to your business computers, servers and networks for provide assistance. Managed Service Providers can now provide assistance faster and this a direct impact to getting their clients up and running.
• Providing more services that will increase Business Continuity and efficiencies.
Managed Services vs the Break-Fix Model
While the Break-Fix Model is completely a reaction to some type of failure to you devices, Managed Services Model is a proactive and preventative method to reduce the impact that a problem would cause your employees your business.
For example, let’s say your backups, security patches and virus protection is not monitored or maintained to ensure that they are current. If no one is monitoring if your computers and specifically servers to that these areas are current, you are opening your business to potential issues and possibly getting hacked. The odds greatly increase of having a major IT outage or another problem down the line.
For instance, I had a client that we were providing the Break-Fix service. One morning they contacted us and their server was not coming up. Upon arrival, we found that they had experienced a power failed and this is why the server was restarted. The server had two hard drives in the system to have a redundant copy on both of the hard drives. When the Server came online, the 1st Hard Drive was selected. I disconnected the 1st Hard Drive and only had the 2nd Hard Drive connected. The Sever came online and the office was back to work. Checking into the Event Log, the 1st Hard Drive had failed about 1 ½ years prior. Luckily, the 2nd Hard Drive was still running. So I also checked on the backups. They had not been successful for over 6 months.
• So if the 2nd Hard Drive had failed and the Backups were 6 months old, how would this impact your business?
• Would your business be able to survive?
This is why the Break-Fix Model is no longer good enough to support the businesses of today. More and more information is stored and accessed by your business. Businesses are using Line of Business (LOB) applications that are specifically built for that business type.
Does Managed Services cost more than the traditional Break-Fix Model
Generally NO! Surprisingly most Managed Services cost less than the traditional Break-Fix Model. When you take the actual TRUE COST of downtime that a business experienced. Generally a business looks at the cost that they pay their IT Support to recover from the problem. You also need to take into consideration the salaries of the staff impacted, the possible overtime needed to catch up from the outage.
A Managed Services Provider is more efficient by preforming Remote Monitoring, and Remote Maintenance. A Break-Fix Provider has to drive to your site and start resolving the problem. This take time that your business cannot afford at a time of need.
A prospect that is a CPA we were talking with had a server that their power supply failed around March 15th. Imagine that and how that would impact his business. The power supply took three days to get installed. With a staff of 5 people and they were working 10-12 hours per day. So they had 150 – 180 hours that they needed to recover. Already working overtime and having a hard deadline made this a major issue.
By the way, to install a second backup power supply only cost around $300.00. This major failure cost over $15,000.00 in total cost.
Benefits of Managed Services
One of the biggest benefits of Managed Services is the constant maintenance of your computers, servers and network. Fixing problems before they become major is critical to the performance of your technology.
Like a vehicle, having it maintained will provide a longer lasting vehicle. Technology is the same way.
• 24 Hour Monitoring
• Increased Operational Efficiency
• Minimize Downtime
• Cost Effective access to enterprise-level support – It’s like having your own IT Employee
• Security Updates and Patches
• Centrally Managed Anti-Virus Software
• Centrally Managed Backup Services
• Remote Access to assist when you experience problems
• Inventory Control
• Allows you to focus on your business and not your technology
• Peace of mind that your technology is being monitored and maintained 24/7/365
To get more information about Manage Services and the features we provide, click on the link below.